The objectives of this study were to evaluate the quantity and quality of cashmere produced by South African indigenous goats under different environmental conditions and to compare two techniques (Video Image Analyser-VIA and Optical Fibre Diameter Analysis-OFDA) which were used for fibre diameter analysis. The study was conducted in Irene, University of Pretoria, Mara, Delftzyl, Roodeplaat and Centurion. In this study three breeds namely Indigenous, Boer and Savanna goats were used and a total of 217 animals were combed during the moulting season (July to September) in 1997. Location and colour of the animals had significant effects on fibre yield and diameter (P<0.05). The Boer goats produced significantly (P<0.05) more fibre, which was coarser, compared to the indigenous goats, irrespective of age of the animal. The savanna goats produced good quality cashmere which was comparable to that produced by Boer goats and indigenous goats. Males produced significantly more and coarser fibre than females (P< 0.05). Reproductive status did not show any significant effects (P>0.05) on yield but the lactating animals produced very little cashmere per annum. Age had no significant effects (P>0.05) on total yield and diameter although both yield and diameter increased with age. According to the results of this experiment, the VIA technique resulted in more accurate fibre diameter values compared to the OFDA technique. The cashmere fibre diameters measured by the VIA were 5 <font face="symbol">m</font>m finer than with the OFDA, while guard hair diameters by the OFDA were 27 <font face="symbol">m</font>m thicker than diameters by the VIA. The correlation between these two techniques was very low, with r2 of 27.1 for cashmere and 16.0 for guard hair respectively. The South African indigenous goats produced good quality (fine) fibre, with fibre diameter ranging between 9 and 14 <font face="symbol">m</font>m, although the quantity was very small. This fibre diameter range meets the requirements for cashmere diameter as recommended by the cashmere industry.
Dissertation (MSc (Animal Production))--University of Pretoria, 2007.